A Review by Reginald

Since @Reginald isn’t going to post it himself, here: Darktide Review and Product Analysis - YouTube

A review by a content creator, but also a core community member.

Thank you, Reg. Keep up your stellar work, pal.


I feel weird about tooting my own horn. I don’t have the advertiser gene. I do appreciate you posting this though.


I watched the whole thing and fatshark upper management should DEFINITELY watch it. Its the kind of stuff that companies normaly pay for and they can get it FOR FREE.


Now I have a voice to read @Reginald posts with in my head. Nice.


I watch VERY few streamers and commenters about the games I play. I care even less about what most of those peeps have to say as they are usually biased as hell against or for the game.

Regi here puts out some real decent vids about the amazing positives and abysmal negatives of Darktide with no bias.

This was a compliment and no I’m not being paid. Yet.


No, you ruined my joke, now everyone knows!


I really like the review. Good reasoning and all.

There is only one criticism from me:

I find the idea of keeping STG on rotation as a stop-gap measure fine, but it’s something that only affects a very small amount of players (who are only willing to play on that difficulty). It’s more of a “keep your elites happy so they say nice things” kind of situation.

I was always saying there needs to be a modded realm, and with the new solo mod recently release it’s halfway there, just need to add multiplayer. This might not be feasible without FS help, but come there needs to be something for players seeking an ever-greater challenge (even above STG).

I see some reasoning behind not running all modifiers (low-int, high-int) always so players mix a bit more, but that’s just a bad idea on FS’s part and at least all intensity levels should be always on, and general difficulty should be fixed with adding t6 cos t5 isn’t really cutting it, and I don’t think a gimmick like STG is a good way going about it.

Again, great job! It was a nice listen!


It would be nice to see numbers on this, but I think that most of the players play damnation (or heresy + damnation) because the game is fairly easy and because of the reward system. I think a lot of players try to go for hiSTG. Not most of the players’ favourite, but it must be good to say,“I beat a mission on hiSTG”.

My problem with modded that it is mostly outside of the game. Fatshark wants us to be on their servers, so they should provide official, hard difficulty. IMO an always available hiSTG mission should be a short term solution until a 6th difficulty is released. I would be fine if hiSTG and the 6th difficulty would give the same rewards as normal damnation. Maybe a frame :smiley:

Should have started with this: @Reginald I liked and subscribed, very well put together review.


I have not watched it yet, but i saw one before it. good content, seems @Desisu spent more time analysing the game than FS content designers


It would be nice to see numbers on this, but I think that most of the players play damnation (or heresy + damnation) because the game is fairly easy and because of the reward system. I think a lot of players try to go for hiSTG. Not most of the players’ favourite, but it must be good to say,“I beat a mission on hiSTG”.

I think you are wrong there, have a look at the steam achievements. I would guess that no more than 20% play on damnation. Probably a lot less.

And while the video tries to be fair, I think that lack of analysis of the target audience hurts it a bit. Like a lot of the criticism and suggestions aim at playing on Damnation. But that’s not where most of the playerbase is at.

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people that play the game longer will eventually start playing damnation. currently the game has horrible retention tactics so a lot of people probably never play long enough to get to end game but i would bet the majority of players who play for the long term all play on or have played on damnation.
Capturing the people who want to play longer is probably a better way to hook whales too. even if you see a low number of overall players that played damnation my guess is that the ones that do play it or will want to play it (once they are able to craft their awesome gear) would be the most valuable players to keep hence a good challenge like hi int stg to hook them in for the long term.


I agree with you on a specific point. I should have spent time on target audience. I’ll add that to my template.

But the target audience for darktide is: everyone at every difficulty and as many people as possible. The people at low difficulties are, from a mission select perspective, having their needs met to a satisfactory degree. It is long haulers and hardmoders that are not. These players are a very important demographic as they are most likely to also be your longest living and most energetic evangalists. Which any brand should be trying to capture. They’re likewise most likely to spend money on expansions, updates and claases when compared to more casual players. But are harder to please. Its easy to see why a company might try to target casual whales but a narrow focus on such easy target misses large sections of big whales and is a fundamental economic failure.

The thing is with 92% of the playerbase filtered by some combination of a bad and buggy launch, crafting complaints, balancing complaints and lack of content complaints, this game cannot afford to fail to respond for months on end to very minor requests by the core remaining hardcore playerbase that missions and modes be available that suit their play interest. I’m actively hunting for new haunts because big fat rejectshark won’t do anything about it and many people i have made friends with here are doing the same or have already left. That’s sad because this game really is almost great.

I played 2 games this week. I normally played like 1 per night. Otherwise i just tested out some weapons in soloqueue yesterday. Hab drayko is still busted for hi-stg.


I watched the whole thing. Great job. Reminded me of work (as a technical resource [and sometimes project lead]).

What you say makes entire sense. Ameliorate the current pain points and maybe focus on reworks after. Your example of overwatch and them not being able to course correct is a god example. I would also bring up Fortnite. Which was primarily focused on the PvE in marketing and build up, then released battle royale. It became insanely popular and they switched their dev time to focus on that to their success. Natural selection is not about being the strongest or fastest. It’s about those able to adapt the most to change.

Look at satisfactory. The communication and community managers for that are the best I have seen in the industry.

Oh, and, adding to the wall.


I don’t want to be negative here. I really appreciate your video, and that you work towards being thorough and impartial.

Yet I feel that your views on playerbase and monetarisation are biased by personal preferences.

They are also the ones the game appears to be designed with in mind. And they are probably the biggest demographic, even among players who have been around since beta. (At least that was the case with VT2. But the DT achievement statistics seem to indicate something similar.)

One business philosophy is to play to your strenghts. So focusing on this group might be the path to go. They appear to be a lot happier with the game (and even the unhappy ones appear to have fewe grievances). And they are probably way more.

This might actually also matter with regards to Steam ratings, which might currently be one of the big aspects that hold back sales. Getting the hardcore players to revise their negative reviews will be hard, and quite many probably wouldn’t anyways. Getting in new players, who now, 6 months after lunch, are faced with a way more well rounded game, might do a lot more to get this game on a positive reputation track. I think that was also what the Steam sale was about, to a degree.

Another aspect is the social one. Group dynamics are one of the main reasons for players to get a game, and to keep investing in it. Imho it’s especially true for Coop-Horde-Shooters. Most of these folks won’t be hardcore players. I think that’s one of the aspects where the botched launch actually hurt Fatshark the most. Groups of people who played VT2 together did not onboard Darktide together. Some did, some didn’t. Just like other gaming groups, they are the ones who convince their friends to join in. And from experience, some of these groups get back together for new DLCs.

It is long haulers and hardmoders that are not. These players are a very important demographic as they are most likely to also be your longest living and most energetic evangalists.

Are they?

I don’t see them being the most energetic evangelists. I will concede that they probably have more content creators among them.

And if this forum is anything to go by, lot of hardcore players (which are probably a smaller fraction of the playerbase) have stopped playing the game. Despite that, quite a few of them are actively trying to give the game a bad rep.

They also imho face the inherent problem that Darktide as a Coop-shooter is imho not designed to target a minmaxing tryhard playerbase. So: Smaller fraction of the playerbase, that would require more ressources and design changes to make happy.

They’re likewise most likely to spend money on expansions, updates and claases when compared to more casual players. But are harder to please. Its easy to see why a company might try to target casual whales but a narrow focus on such easy target misses large sections of big whales and is a fundamental economic failure.

Is this the case?

Seriously, I’m not sure if that monetarisation theorie based on mobile games (whaling) does apply to tide games. For one, there are no ingame advantages you can buy. At all. And there are no monetized dark patterns that allow you to sink several hundred Euros at once. No loot boxes, no draft boosters, not even season passes.

All there is, is a cosmetics store. And, at some point, DLCs.

Imho the DLCs profit a lot from people in a player group, who get the DLC together.

The cosmetics store imho profits most from people playing multiple classes. I’m not convinced that’s really more the case with minmaxing tryhards. At least some said that the can’t optimize all 4 classes right now. But generally, the number of players with multiple classes is not that great (11,4% have 2+ classes), and increasing that number might actually increase cosmetic sales.

Just an anecdote: I decided to take out my Ogryn today (last class not at 30) and did a game on Uprising. My team included a level 30 soldier with imperial edition gear and Armageddon helemet from the store. And another level 8 Ogryn with cosmetics store shoulders. And if you play at Malice, you will actually see quite a few players still wearing their beta helmets.

Honestly, if non-tryhard players (“Casuals”/“Chillers”/whatever) were that irrelevant for monetarisation, I doubt that Fatshark would have tried this hard to improve Darktide for non-tryhard players.

I also legit shared this with a friend looking to do their PMP and stuff to see if they want to do a career in PM work and an example of it.


My only criticism of the video would be that the part about whales was neutral. It seems to be the most important segment about monetisation. Important fact: whales are mostly mentally ill people, not people with deep pockets. Basing anything on their exploitation is a huge problem from every point of view. It is immoral, unsustainable.

Also @HenchAnt, may I ask who those minmaxing tryhards are? How do you define them and what are the signs that FS had no intention of having them around?


I love your videos! Keep up the good work! I am subscribed and leave you comments :smiley: cheers!


Also @HenchAnt, may I ask who those minmaxing tryhards are? How do you define them and what are the signs that FS had no intention of having them around?

People who want to play the game on the highest difficulty, who want to optimize maxed out gear and test their mettle in a somewhat competetive way. :man_shrugging: @Mezmorki gave a description in this thread that I found helpful:

And Darktide, compared to VT2, was made less competetive and less grindy for players who don’t want to play at highest difficulties:

  • No more scoreboard.
  • Getting some gear (red items) is no longer locked behind playing on higher difficulties or farming books. The game no longer incentivices players to a specific playstyle via rewards.
  • Getting good gear for medium difficulties is a lot easier now, and the player has way more control over that than in VT2 thanks to shops, shrinking reroll costs and blessing collection.
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Definitely not less grindy. Darktide is easily a thousand fold more grindy.

In correct. You could get orange gear with maximum “red” equivalent values. There were no base modifiers or stats bars and all blessings were T4 for all intents and purposes looking at VT2. You could get the exact property and trait combo you wanted max base and stats on VT2 with slight property differences on oranges.


People say this to me often without any basis for it. I spend the whole video describing how best Fatshark should approach their own title based on broad swathes of feedback from steam reviews and forum posts (and other places). to be clear I only displayed a tiny fraction of my data collection process in this case, since the format is poor for expressing data like that. But, so that I don’t have to have a long conversation about this in the future, let me be explicit about my preferences so we know what they are.

  • All filthy casuals can GTFO.
  • End support for XBOX and Console
  • Don’t care at all about social systems. I play with the people I want to play with or soloqueue.
  • Don’t care about resource siloing either. If I like a class I’ll play it enough that i’ll get what I want. Simple as.
  • Level 1 difficulty literally delete it. You start at level 2, toughen up buttercup.
  • Low intensity? Deleted.
  • Assault and hi-STG are added to the game permanently as dedicated slots. Difficulties 2, 3 and 4 are reduced to 1 panel each. Damnation is maximized to occupy the remaining space.
  • Rework mission select to be purely choice based Y2.
  • new classes start with Zealot Death Cult Assassin and Vet COMMISAR which MUST have dual weilding and a bolt pistol. Don’t care about Psyker classes let them languish. Ogryn classes I don’t care about either.
  • New archetype added ASAP as Sister of Battle. I’ll pay for it but better be done by Q2 2023 or I’ll be mad or something
  • All female characters have their faces improved and budget slider is added
  • male characters get a MUSCLE slider so my power fantasy of being a muscle wizard can be satisfied
  • 2 handed chain axe yesterday, literally has my name on it as a cosmetic option. This isn’t a joke.
  • All Combat and tac Axes are nerfed into obscurity
  • Knife nerfed into even greater uselessness including reduced mobility. No bull “i’m secretly a ninja” nonsense.
  • mundane weapons do trash damage to Carapace and low damage to Flak in all cases and are basically just starter gear to be discarded in endgame
  • chain weapons buffed hard
  • power weapons reworked entirely
  • Literally remove poxhounds from the game and all associated modes.
  • Crafting RNG is removed except weapon statsbars, which are associated with rarity level and rarity levels can be directly purchased.
  • blessings and perks are directly purchased and attached to each weapon for low resource costs

I could go on and on, but like, you get the point. What I, personally, want and what I advocate for directly are often different things. That is because a product manager’s job is not to wishlist but to take what is there and move it towards better by finding the shortest path and/or by looking for the things with the biggest impact for the lowest effort. Its about asking the question “what matters most and why?” and then answering it. Now I could be wrong in my analysis, obviously, but I believe I have a broad swathe of sources for my feedback and have picked things that need to be changed primarily based on other people’s feedback and proposed those changes that appeared simplest to implement and that would resolve those problems at a low cost to the development process.

as I identified in my review it does look like most of the available Co-Op interested players picked it up and ran away. That may not be precisely true but considering the sale and community event did not attract many players and most of the haunts I hang out in don’t get many people asking if they should buy, just if they should come back, I believe I am correct on this point. The only open space is console. Otherwise its a winback redemption kind of problem fatshark needs to solve.

They are, or they would be if the product was in a state worth evangelizing. People who played a lot of VT2 (hundreds of hours) are the people who got me into it. Its a fact of the gaming industry that reviewers who entice players into games are usually hardcore gamers who are very invested in it as a pastime. The fact that big content creators and reviewers (people with sway, that is to say not like me) are not interested in providing a positive review for this product does not entice new or old players to get into the game. Most of those reviewers and gamers that I see had similar things to say about the difficulty. They were playing Heresy or Damnation and running into the “i don’t want to play that” issue. This is one of many reasons I said you can enjoy this game for 40-100 hours but will run into frustrations after a while.

Unfortunately these stats and any conclusions, including your discussion of who has however many classes leveled up, are unreliable due to the massive exodus of the playerbase after launch. We have no numbers for how much of the playerbase is at what level on what content completion and can draw no conclusions.

I want to be clear that I am not arguing that casual players aren’t a target market, in fact they are obviously a key one. I am arguing that hardcore players are a key target market too. The casual market appears to be getting what they need, but the hardcore market isn’t and they aren’t even asking for much. What they want is entirely minor. The improvements to the game so far have benefited everyone and are not at all targeted directly at casual players. They’re just improvements. My only point was that the longhaulers are, in fact, a key market and a likely source of whales and because they are hardcore and longhaul they are a source of reliable monetization whereas more casual players will get bored and eventually drop. Maybe coming back on major content launches. They DO put more pressure on the content team but they also serve as more reliable wallets.

I have not seen evidence to actually support this popular claim. But if it matters my preferred monetization strategy is DLC based or Subscription based.

A very fair statement. I cut that section for time. it was a long conversation and I decided to put monetization strategies in a different video for another day where I really can tear into it. The whole videogaming industry is a disaster right now and it’ll be fun to inspect why I think.

Very very true.

I hope your friend finds it helpful! PM work can be a lot of fun but it can also be exhausting.